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JULY 24, 2009 • ISSUE 44

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Brain Functioning as the Ground for Spiritual Experiences and Ethical Behavior by Dr. Fred Travis

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Dr. Fred Travis

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Brain Integration of college students increased after 3 months practice of Transcendental Meditation

Dr. Travis Publishes in FBI Bulletin

Fred Travis, director of MUM’s Center for Brain, Consciousness and Cognition, recently published an article entitled “ Brain Functioning as the Ground for Spiritual Experiences and Ethical Behavior” in the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin about the potential benefits of the Transcendental Meditation® program for those in law enforcement.

In his article, Dr. Travis explained how experience affects the brain, and noted that those in law enforcement experience the worst of life and need an inner shield just as they need a bullet-proof vest.

He wrote that the Transcendental Meditation technique gives the experience of pure awareness, and discussed research on how this experience builds greater integration between areas of the brain. He also reported on previously published research at American University that showed that the TM® technique protects students from stress by increasing holistic brain functioning as measured by his Brain Integration Scale.

Dr. Travis concluded that his “research has indicated that practice of the TM technique leads to increased frontal brain integration, faster habituation to stressful stimuli, and higher moral reasoning. Spiritual experiences enliven frontal coherence, which builds global circuits to place individual experiences in a larger framework. In this vein, spiritual experiences could provide the inner armor to protect law enforcement officers from the noxious effects of negative experiences and stress.”

The content of the article has been extended into a lecture offered by the FBI as part of their Wellness and Vitality in Police Officers program. “The FBI is developing ways to heal the effects of the day-to-day experience of Law Enforcement,” said Dr. Travis, “and we are part of that conversation.”

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